Tag Archives: Trail Sisters

I AM EFFING FORTY!!!

Today, I am 40. How in the hell did that happen? I should start off by saying that you’ll have to excuse this little self-indulgent post. I will try and keep it short and sweet. Okay, maybe it won’t be so “sweet” but short would be good right?

Hopefully you can tell which one is me ...
Me as a kid with my neighbors … hopefully you can tell which one is me.

I have been thinking about this day for quite some time. Probably since I turned 39 and realized, “Holy freaking crap, I am leaving my thirties and entering the dreaded 40 zone?” I know it isn’t a huge deal. I mean, Vans turned 40 eons ago and he survived right? 🙂

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Yet for some reason, this milestone, this marker, has brought on actual change (stay with me here). When I went from 20 to 21 I didn’t really notice a general shift in anything. Sure, yea, I could buy alcohol, whoopee! I wasn’t a huge drinker at the time so it didn’t matter (well times have changed and I do love my occasional glass of wine and a really well made margarita – don’t hate me, I have two kids damn it!).

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My crazies.

When I went from 29 to 30 I was pretty down about it. I absolutely loved my twenties! I mean, I moved to California, I got my own apartment, I met Vans and I traveled to Italy with just a backpack!

Happy 20 somethings...
Happy carefree 20 somethings…

I also got laid off, went back to school, got a new degree and started a whole new-fangled life in a new profession. I also got engaged and married all within a span of 4 months (no I wasn’t pregnant) all in my twenties! It was great. And then, 30 came.

In my twenties with my best friend and love, Vans
In my twenties with my best friend and love, Vans

Turning 30 wasn’t horrible, but I didn’t notice any “significant” changes other than I felt that I had to act more grown up. Did I? Probably not. Okay, most definitely not but I did have this sense that I was supposed to. We bought a real house, had kids and did all the things 30 year olds are supposed to do I guess.

Taken 1 week before Peanut was born.
Taken 1 week before the Peanut was born and our lives drastically changed!

However, 30 I felt was mostly just counting down to (gulp) 40.

5 ish months into this "being a mom" thing - CAMPING!
5-ish months into this “being a mom” thing while CAMPING!

This last year of being 39 has been nothing short of awesome. I have had so many wonderful things happen. My baby entered kindergarten and while this only made me feel OLDER it has been quite amazing watching her grow into the little stubborn (see above – margaritas do help) person she is today. My oldest is actually more like a little adult now (again, making me feel much older – thanks kid) but it has been incredible having this little “partner” to do things with.

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I also went on a road trip this year with my Wolfpack and trail sisters to Ashland, Oregon (and laughed my a$$ off). I spent a week in Tahoe with my family over Thanksgiving and have never been happier.

Snowed in at Tahoe!
Snowed in at Tahoe!

I had a stellar racing year, one I doubt I will ever duplicate. I ran my first 100k at Quicksilver. I qualified for Western States. I even placed in a few small local races and when you’re at the bottom of your age bracket that feels pretty awesome (it doesn’t matter that they were “small” races – just let me have the glory alright?!).

My cool trucker hat, wooden medal and wooden award. Very creative.
FOURmidable 50k

However, I have had what I feel is a more noticeable shift; a change or transformation if you will these last few months of my 39-dom. Do you want to know what that shift was? Essentially, I don’t care anymore! Don’t get me wrong, I CARE! Of course I care about things and about people, but I care far less about silly frivolous things we have no control over and in all honesty, I care less about what people think of ME. Not that I ever really cared THAT much (ask Vans – when it comes to appearances I have always walked to the beat of my own drum, especially in the fashion department).

Me in my 20s .. see what I mean by "fashion" - not much has changed.
Me in my 20’s .. see what I mean by “fashion” – sadly not much has changed.

Basically, I feel like turning 40 has given me a gift. Something that I consider to be very important. Forty has given me the gift of self-esteem and the gift of confidence. It wasn’t that I didn’t have these things before but I think now, it just comes easier. It is hard to articulate into words but turning 40 hasn’t been so bad.

Photo by Michael Molinski Photography
Yes, that’s Scott Jurek and ME at 39!                  Photo by Michael Molinski Photography

I know who I am now. I don’t feel like I am waiting to find out who I am going to ‘grow up’ to be because, I am there. I am her. And damn it, she rocks! Told you this was a self-indulgent post.  🙂

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So I am embracing 40. I am taking it by the horns and saying “Hell yea! Let’s do this!” I am on the top of my game. I feel better than I ever have. I am healthier than ever. I have a fabulous family who is my world (on both the west and east coasts). I have friends that make me laugh, go on adventures, text or Facebook me funny things. What more could I ask for? So what if I am entering the toughest age-bracket on the trail running scene … (damn those women are FAST) but it is empowering, it is motivating and it just reinforces my “forty is effing awesome” theory.

The future is bright.
The future is bright.

So there isn’t much else to say really (I already surpassed this post being “short” – sorry). I am 40. I am effing 40 damn it (I think turning 40 means you curse a lot more too but I am not sure). So Happy Birthday to me!

Thank you to everyone who has been on this journey with me these last 40 years! Near and far, you all know who you are! You are part of the reason I am who I am today… at 40. Geez, I am 40? I think I just have to keep saying it for it to fully sink in … 404040.

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Okay 40, let’s do this!

Happy Trails!

~Trailmomma

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WOLF-PACK

wolfpackWhat started out as a joke on Facebook before our road trip a few weeks ago (you can read about that adventure here), got me thinking about the people I run with and who honestly, I spend most of my happy time with (besides my own family).

I feel very lucky to have the set of friends that I do. Friends who do crazy things and who enjoy Mother Nature and getting muddy just as much as me.

Waterfall fun!
Friends who jump off rocks and take a million photos
But remember, Blue is Bad!
Friends who goof around in the middle of a run.

If you read my posts, you know who these usual suspects are in my life. Pigeon, Stonegate and Burning Girl are the most frequent. Occasionally we are lucky enough to run with Miss P and Pearls.

These ladies rock!

I also run with a dear friend, TiggerT. She doesn’t run ultras but when we do run, we usually laugh, a lot. She is my California International Marathon buddy and my “road-running” friend.

TiggerT and I
TiggerT

But more importantly, she and Stonegate, Burning Girl and Pigeon are my friends. My wolf-pack. They are the ones I know will support me in a race and in life.

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They also send you funny texts during races.

Truth be told, before I ran trails, I ran alone. A lot. I used to read Kristin Armstrong’s blog Mile Markers on Runner’s World and would be so envious of the stories she’d write about – meeting her friends for a morning workout or a long training run – laughing and sharing their life’s problems with each other. I wanted that.

2016 Selfie

Well now, I have it but 100 times better.

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My wolf-pack doesn’t run together every day or every weekend, but we are connected. The trails may have brought us together but it isn’t what keeps us strong.

Trail Girls

My wolf-pack keeps me sane. They keep me on my toes. They are resources for things I know nothing about. They build you up and remind you, that you are worth it and that you deserve the best. They are shoulders to cry on when life gets hard and they remind you when you may be making the same mistake twice.

Hugs!

They give you hugs when you need them and they make you laugh.

Oops! hahaha

I adore my wolf-pack and while it seems stereotypical to “give thanks” this time of year, that is exactly what I want to do.

Thank you ladies for all that you do. Thank you for being a little bit crazy and a lot-a-bit fun. Thank you for being adventure seekers and thank you for supporting my often crazy ideas. Thank you for the hugs, the laughter and the tears. Thank you for listening. Thank you, for being you … my wolf-pack, our wolf-pack.

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Happy Trails!

(and Happy Thanksgiving!)

~Trailmomma

 

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OCTOBER IS MY FAVORITE MONTH

Sorry I have been missing from posting here lately. I have been busy mostly because I absolutely LOVE the month of October and am jumping at any chance I have to be outside.

I love the changing colors!
I love the changing colors!

I apologize for being vague here, but I am juggling a lot “balls” in the air right now all related to various projects that I essentially have created for myself. I can’t help it, I love being busy!

Hopefully, when the time is right, I will be able to share more.

So in exchange for a vague post, I’ll just fill you in on some of the things I have been doing lately.

A few weeks ago, Stonegate, another friend and I created a relay team called The MOMsters and ran The Folsom Lake Ultra Trail 100k (relay) also known as F.L.U.T.

Some damn awesome mommas right here.
Some damn awesome mommas right here.

It was my first ever trail-relay and I was running a section of Folsom Lake that I have never run before.

Gorgeous!
Gorgeous!

The run was tough. My section was 25 miles, a lot of pavement and quite a few climbs.

Unfortunately, our team did not finish. Stonegate started her leg at 3 pm in the afternoon, when it was already quite hot outside. She mis-judged her fueling routine with the later start time and ended up not being able to finish her leg. She was pretty ill and I know for her, it was a very tough decision to make. As her relay team, we didn’t care one bit, we just wanted her healthy.

After that, I took a “me-day” from work and ventured to Santa Rosa!

I wanted to visit True North Health Center in Santa Rosa, the home of Dr. Alan Goldhammer and Dr. Doug Lisle.

2While there I saw a cooking demo which was great because I am hosting another plant-based cooking demo in a few weeks! I am kind of excited about it too. Hopefully I will do a post about that as well.

It was really interesting to see how someone else demonstrates certain cooking techniques to others.

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After the cooking demo, I visited the Savory Spice Shop and was in total spice heaven!

Smelled amazing
Smelled amazing

I bought some fresh herbs and spices to try at home.

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My time spent in Santa Rosa was brief but lovely. I had never really been there before (that I can recall anyway) and I can’t wait to go back.

THEN, I had a friend who I met at Plant-Stock in 2015, text that she was headed my way and was wondering if she could crash and visit for a few days with us. I was beyond excited to see her!

TARA!!!!
TARA!!!!

Tara is a bundle of absolute positive energy. She is a joy to be around and my girls had a blast with her. Hopefully they didn’t scare her from having children in the future! 🙂 My kids were pretty wired when she was here and in rare form. Squeaker was on fire and quite hilarious.

We made massive yummy salads every night.
We made massive yummy plant-based salads every night.

Unfortunately, Tara picked the worst weekend to be here because we had our first ever major storm. A weekend full of rain and wind which doesn’t make for great hosting and sightseeing.

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While she does run trails, Tara didn’t have storm weather appropriate running shoes with her so she wasn’t able to join Stonegate, Pigeon, Miss P, Pearls and I on our Sunday morning run in Auburn.

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We were the only ones on the trail and we had one helluva time!

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It was MUDDY and slippery but oh.so.much.fun!!!! We ran, we laughed and we all were in total complete heaven.

Running through the flood on No Hands Bridge
Running through the flood on No Hands Bridge

How often do you find a group of women like us who live to get muddy and soaking wet at the butt-crack of dawn on a Sunday? 🙂

These ladies rock!
These ladies rock!

So, as you can see, I haven’t been hiding under a rock. I’ve been out enjoying nature and all that October has brought with it thus far.

Like I said earlier, I hope to be able to share some of the projects that I have been working on lately with you or at least the status updates of those.

I am hosting another plant-based cooking demo later in the month for a small group of people who are interested in learning how to cook plant-based. I am excited to open my kitchen to them and to answer any questions they may have about the way that I cook.

Hopefully, down the road, maybe I can do more of these or even better, be invited to other people’s homes to  show them how to use what they have to cook and eat plant-based.

Until then, I am enjoying some family time and some adventures.

My mini me.
My mini me.

Happy Trails!

~Trailmomma

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HEADLANDS MARATHON RACE REPORT

Wait! Stop! Just LOOK at that EFFING city! Oh my god!

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That pretty much stopped me dead in my tracks and made me laugh, out loud. When Stonegate sees a view that she wants to capture, she makes sure you (and everyone else around her) knows about it! 🙂

Last year on a whim, I reached out to Stonegate and asked if she was interested in running the Headlands Trail Marathon with me. She was … so we did and we laughed… a lot.

So when sign ups came for the 2016 Headlands Trail Marathon we both jumped at the chance, not really thinking too much about our fitness level and mileage.

I have had a few longer runs under my belt recently, nothing more than 15 miles or so though. Stonegate however, had not really run much more than 7 since her 50 mile race back in April. Still, we went into this run looking for fun and adventure. Pure and simple. No expectations. No agenda.

We arrived in Mill Valley late afternoon on Friday. We bummed around town a bit checking out the shops and planning our post-race meal location for the next day. This town is absolutely adorable. We crashed at our friend Mill Valley’s place just as we had last year. We made her a plant-based dinner in exchange for two comfy beds to crash in pre-race and a nice shower post-race. We are super lucky to have her and she is one of THE nicest people I have ever met.

Saturday at 4 am my alarm started blaring and we began getting ready. We arrived at the race start pretty early. We sat in the car until race registration opened up and we could go get our bibs and use the restrooms.

Start area
Start area

The race start is steps, literally, from the ocean. The temps were breezy and cold but the salt water air was a refreshing change from the pollen and smoke filled air of the central valley.

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When race time neared, we headed back down eager to get the day started. While milling about waiting for the pre-race meeting, we ran into Miss P and Pearls (named for her Pearl Izumi shoe obsession – which by the way, she’s super sad the shoe has been discontinued, but she’ll always have her nickname!).

Me, Pearls and Miss P - love these ladies!
Me, Pearls and Miss P – love these ladies!

While also hanging around, we noticed two people wearing shirts that said VEGAN in super large lettering. Of course I had to say something. I sort of walked over and said, “Awesome shirt! Woo Hoo, go vegan!” The conversation started and we all talked about being plant-based and learned that Vegan Skott, who was from Boston, was running the Headlands Hundred! Rachel, his crew, was assisting him. Super sweet people!

Vegan Skott and Rachel
Vegan Skott and Rachel

The race director jumped on top of the water fountain and gave us a little pre-race briefing. After that, we lined up at the start.

RD on a water fountain
RD on a water fountain

Different from last year, the marathon started at the same time as the 100, 50 and 75 mile races but instead of going right, we went left to tack on an extra mile to make our distance equal 26.2.

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There seemed to be a lot more marathoners this year than last year. You spread out pretty easily though so there is no stepping on feet or anything but it does take a minute or two to get some space.

My legs felt a bit heavy from the start. They had not quite woken up yet and I hoped that the sensation would eventually fade otherwise it would be a super long day.

I knew it wouldn’t fade right away though because the start of this race is up hill. Like REALLY up hill, for quite a while with very little break. Like hands on hips hiking straight into the fog up hill.

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Looking down

The central Valley allergies were still present. My chest felt tight and my right eye started watering. Stonegate affectionately started calling it my “leaky eye.” It was annoying but we kept hiking.

A quarter of the way up, we noticed something moving on the side of the trail. None of the other runners seemed to see it.  It was a coyote! It had been at the start and now, it had run up the hillside and was watching us runners run by. It blew me away that no one else seemed to notice, or maybe they didn’t care. We stopped and took photos. Of course. 🙂

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Photo by me – he looks superimposed!
Photo by Stonegate
Photo by Stonegate – we swear he’s real!

Unlike last year, the fog never seemed to dissipate. Last year we were rewarded with some amazing views of the ocean from the top of the hill but not this year. This year, we saw fog and lots of it.

Still we ran the flats and hiked the up hills stopping to take goofy photos along the way.

Do Not Climb On Historic Gun TWSS
It says: “Do Not Climb
On Historic Gun”  ……TWSS
What? Oregon Border?
What? Oregon Border? On my way!

The fog also didn’t deter us from taking photos on amazing cliffs overlooking the ocean.

Stopped to get one of Stonegate ...
Stonegate soaking it all in

When we reached the aid-station at Muir Beach, for some reason I glanced up and saw that someone had placed a plastic pig on top of this sign hanging from a lamp post.

See the piggy? haha
See the piggy? haha

Because I am a dork, I pointed it out to Stonegate and the whole aid-station heard and they all started laughing wondering why this plastic pig was just sitting there. I assumed it was kind of a weird treasure hunt game thing. 🙂 Only I would notice something as random as that.

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After that aid-station we were back on the trails hiking back up hill. One of the things I told Vegan Skott before the race had started was that he might enjoy the many “eco-systems” that we’ll get to run thru throughout the day.

Maybe “eco-system” isn’t the right word but it is the best way to describe running from a cliff beach like setting into something that looks like it belongs in a rain forest!

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These “rain-forest” sections are my absolute favorite. It brings a huge smile to our faces and often draws out an “Awe yea” or “Look at this!” from one of us.

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From the rain-forest eco-system you are then thrust into an urban/city-like touristy eco-system as the trail has you running high above the freeway one minute and then down below the Golden Gate Bridge the next.

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You run a paved road down until you are underneath the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s kind of crazy. The aid-station is at the bottom and this year it was closer to the bridge. Stonegate and I stopped and added some water to our pack. This was about mile 20 here.

We got to see Vegan Skott arrive. Rachel, his crew had this mini-van that was full of plant-based food and she invited us to have anything inside that we wanted. She also offered to get us coffee to have at the finish. This girl is crazy sweet. We wished her well and told her we’d see her at the finish.

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As we were making our way back up the hill, we looked to our left and did a double take. A bunch of people were gathered around this guy who appeared to have the largest gold chain and what looked like a gold roll of toilet paper hanging from it??!!! He was also rapping … about being under the Golden Gate Bridge. They were apparently shooting a rap video?! It was the craziest thing and totally unexpected!

Photo by Stonegate
Photo by Stonegate

We climbed back up the way we had come. Slower now, as it was uphill and there were still runners coming down. The trail leads you back across the windiest section of the race. Last year Stonegate almost lost her visor. This year she was prepared and she held it in her hand. The trail even has ropes on either side to keep you safe.

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Back across the we went. Stonegate I think was starting to feel a bit off at this point. The girl hasn’t run more than 7 miles so I don’t blame her. I think her stomach had decided it was done. She battled some nausea the last few miles or so.

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We would run and then stop to walk. She urged me to go on without and I wasn’t quite sure that was a good idea. This race wasn’t about time or performance but at the same time, sometimes when you are not feeling well, the best thing is to be left alone.

So I told her, “Let’s run some. If you need to stop again, I will just keep going. Don’t feel you have to rush to the finish or anything though.” So with about 2-ish miles to go, she stopped again and I continued on.

I have to say, those were the longest two miles ever. My legs had regained some energy somewhere along the run, I think back on the “rain-forest” trail so I had some pep in my step. I ran and cheered on all the ultra-runners who were coming back up to start their second loop of the race.

The trail along the ocean was pretty but never ending. You had the ocean to your left and a parking lot to your right. Lots of spectators were standing about which was nice as they cheered for you as you ran by.

Finally, I made the turn to the finish. There wasn’t much hoopla. A few claps from people but boy did it feel nice to be done! Stonegate finished not long after either. We’d made it, we finished the Headlands Marathon despite our lack of training.

We chatted with Miss P and Pearls for a bit. Said hi to Rachel and wished Vegan Skott well on the rest of his race. As it turns out, he didn’t finish the 100 but stopped at mile 50. Having only trained in Boston, that was one tough 100 to try and run. Kudos Skott!

Stonegate wanted to jet out of there as we had to get cleaned up, eat and hit the road so that we could be home for the last concert in the park with our families.

Overall, it was a great day. The cool temps were great compared to the warmer temperature last year but I did miss seeing the views just a bit.

I am super lucky to have Stonegate who is open to adventure on a moment’s notice. She dug deep on this one and finished. Not sure if this will be on our calendar for next year. We love visiting with Mill Valley but maybe we’ll pick a different race? Who knows, but no matter what, it’s always an adventure.

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Happy Trails!

~Trailmomma

(Finish time: 5:44, 1st AG)

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